What is Bioidentical Hormone Therapy?

I have been hearing about bio-identical hormones for a while, but have never really paid attention to all of the fuss. However, with perimenopause looming, catching up on my reading and research about pre menopause symptoms and treatments has moved up on my list of priorities.

It never hurts to do some research on your own – you never know, (unless you are dealing with a specialist) maybe you will bring new information to your doctor.

Most of us have heard of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which is made up of synthetic estrogen, progesterone (or a progestin) and testosterone. From what I understand so far, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), also referred to as Natural Hormone replacement Therapy, is made up of a blend of hormones that are supposed to be customized to a woman’s individual hormone needs. That “need” is apparently determined through a saliva test.

Bioidentical hormones are created from plants and are manufactured to be a “custom fit” to a particular individual’s own chemical/molecular structure. Even though bioidentical hormones have been around for years, many doctors are unfamiliar with them.

Manufacturers claim that bioidentical hormones are safer than the standard synthetic hormone therapy, however according to the FDA these claims regarding safety, efficacy and superiority of BHRT have not been substantiated.

As always though, when a celebrity becomes involved, whatever they are ‘into’ becomes the rage, or center of attention. When Suzanne Somers published two books in recent years, The Sexy Years: Discover the Hormone Connection--The Secret to Fabulous Sex, Great Health, and Vitality, for Women and Men and Ageless: The Naked Truth About Bioidentical Hormones, describing her experience with bioidentical hormones and how they relieved her menopause symptoms, doctors were plagued with calls from patients wanting to know more about this form of hormone therapy. So thank you Suzanne Somers, for at least bringing another option to our attention that many of our doctors would not have otherwise.

I have to say that I was not really considering reading her books, since she is not a medical expert, however after rethinking that theory I have reconsidered and recently purchased a copy of The Sexy Years to add to my reading pile. I considered the fact that no one I know personally has tried BHRT and it may be very informative to read about someone’s own experiences – better yet, it will more than likely be something I could understand and relate to and not filled with a bunch of medical jargon that would be hard to digest.